Japan Hangs Seven Members Of Doomsday Cult That Attacked Subway With Sarin

Japan Hangs Seven Members Of Doomsday Cult That Attacked Subway With Sarin

Asahara, 63, a pudgy, partially blind yoga instructor, was sentenced to hang in 2004 on 13 charges, including the subway gas attacks and other crimes that killed at least a dozen people.

Doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara and several followers were executed Friday for their roles in a deadly 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subways and other crimes, Japanese media reported.

Scores of Aum members have faced trial over the attack - 13 were sentenced to death, including Asahara.

Fortunately, mistakes made in developing the sarin and its delivery method meant the attack was far less effective than intended, and the group only succeeded in killing 12 and injuring 5,500 people.

Atsushi Sakahara, who was injured in the attack, welcomed the executions.

The top Japanese government spokesman confirmed Asahara's execution but wouldn't comment on the others.

"We should have heard more stories from the people involved and deepened discussions in society to get to the bottom as to why such crimes related to religion happened", Ogawara said.

He said that more than 10 years after he left the cult, he had "no special feeling" for Asahara, but had still been somewhat nervous about the potential repercussions for criticizing him in public.

The subway attack was the most notorious of the cult's crimes, which was blamed for 27 deaths in all.

Asahara, whose original name was Chizuo Matsumoto, founded Aum Shinrikyo, or Supreme Truth, in 1984.




On 20 March 1995, cult members released the Sarin on the Tokyo subway.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday that authorities are taking precautionary measures in case of any retaliation by his followers.

Shizue Takahashi, whose husband was a subway deputy station master who died in the attack, also expressed regret that six of Asahara's followers had been killed.

The ministry said that as of Friday, the number of death-row inmates with their sentences finalized was at 117, one of whom is under retrial.

His execution came as a slew of trials involving AUM members came to an end after more than 20 years with the Supreme Court's decision on January 18 to reject an appeal against a life sentence filed by Katsuya Takahashi, the last former member on trial.

It is extremely complex to label the religious fundamentals of Aum Shinrikyo.

The cult went underground after the 1995 attack, but did not disappear, eventually renaming itself Aleph or Hikari no Wa.

"These acts breach the right to life and the right to live free from torture", Amnesty said in a recent report.

Many of Asahara's followers were highly educated scientists and engineers, who helped bring in huge amounts of money to the cult's coffers.

The cult claimed to have 10,000 members in Japan and 30,000 in Russian Federation but has disbanded.

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